Musa River
Southeastern peninsula of Papua New Guinea:
Oro Province
Linguistic classificationTrans–New Guinea

The Yareban or Musa River languages are a small family of Trans–New Guinea languages spoken near the Musa River in the "Bird's Tail" (southeastern peninsula) of New Guinea. They are classified within the Southeast Papuan branch of Trans–New Guinea.


The languages are,

Barijian is suggested by lexicostatistics in Dutton (1971).

The only pronouns which are known in enough languages to reconstruct are na 1sg and a 2sg, which are common to all Yareban languages.



Usher (2020) reconstructs the consonant inventory as follows:[2]

*m *n
*pʰ *tʰ [*s] *kʰ
*b *d [*dz] [*g]
*w *j

*s and *dz were acquired through loans, but may have already been present in the protolanguage. *ʔ and *g may have been allophones.

Vowels are *a *e *i *o *u.


Usher (2020) reconstructs the pronouns as:[2]

sg du pl
1excl *na *ewa
1incl *uwa *i[j]a
2 *a *ja
3 *dawa *ema(wa)

Basic vocabulary

Some lexical reconstructions by Usher (2020) are:[2]

gloss Proto-Musa River
head *bo-tai
hair/feather *idi
ear *ome
eye *nai-tai
nose *iboʔo
tooth *ni[ʔ]o
tongue *meana
foot/leg *buɾi
blood/salt *iwa
bone *tai
skin/bark *ope
breast *ama
louse *uʔa
dog *kua
pig *boɾo
bird *gasiɾa; *ada
egg *baka; *uɾimi
tree *ana
man/person *e[ʔe]me
woman/wife *aweta
sun *eweaka
moon *maɾabe; *sakaɾa
water *adua
fire *inaʔa
stone *oma; *gebiɾo
path *daʔaba
name *ibi
eat/drink *it-
one *demu


Yareban reflexes of proto-Trans-New Guinea (pTNG) etyma are:[3]

Yareba language:

Abia language:


  1. ^ New Guinea World, Owen Stanley Range
  2. ^ a b c New Guinea World, Musa River
  3. ^ Pawley, Andrew; Hammarström, Harald (2018). "The Trans New Guinea family". In Palmer, Bill (ed.). The Languages and Linguistics of the New Guinea Area: A Comprehensive Guide. The World of Linguistics. Vol. 4. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton. pp. 21–196. ISBN 978-3-11-028642-7.